The 4 Best Free Police Scanner Apps

Listen to police scanners online

A police scanner app lets you listen to live broadcasts from law enforcement and fire department feeds. Unlike a traditional police scanner that requires a radio in close proximity, police scanners that access the internet are available for anyone with the right app or website link.

You can download a police scanner or radio scanner app for free to listen to emergency situations wherever you may be and for whatever reason. If you want to follow breaking news or are just curious about what's going on in your neighborhood, you can do so with one of these apps that connect you directly to live police feeds.

Illustration of a person tapping on a phone with a police badge and
©Lifewire / Derek Abella

Learn if police scanner apps are illegal if you're concerned about whether you should use one. Short answer: it depends on where you live, but maybe more importantly, it depends where you use it (i.e., tuning in at home might be fine, but it could be illegal to drive around with a police scanner running).

You can also pick up police radio signals with a dedicated radio scanner. There are several police scanners we recommend that don't require a smartphone at all, but the downside is that they're usually fairly expensive.

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5-0 Radio Police Scanner: Learn Short Codes While You Listen

5-0 police scanner app for iPhone
What We Like
  • Finding the top 100 scanner feeds is easy.

  • Lets you browse for local feeds among all the others.

  • Police feeds can be added to your list of favorites for easy access again later.

  • Shows location-specific code meanings.

What We Don't Like
  • Free version has lots of advertisements.

  • No Android app.

One way to get a free police scanner is with the 5-0 Radio Police Scanner app. While it does make you watch ads occasionally, it gives you access to lots of feeds all around the world and includes police scanner codes on the same screen as the feed.

You can get the pro app for more police feeds, no ads, a sleep timer/alarm, a siren noise maker, weather feeds, and other features.

This police scanner also includes access to online radio stations.

This scanner radio works on iOS and Windows 10/8.

Download For:

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Scanner Radio: Get Alerts When Something Big Is Happening

Scanner Radio police app for iPhone
What We Like
  • Get alerts when a certain number of people are listening to a police scanner of your choice.

  • Get alerts when Broadcastify reveals that there's an alert on the scanner.

  • The police scanner can turn off automatically with a sleep timer.

What We Don't Like
  • Police codes are included but they're not local to the feed.

  • Runs on mobile devices only (not computers).

One thing that sets the Scanner Radio app apart from the other police scanners in this list is that you can set up mobile alerts to get notified when lots of people are listening to a specific feed, which usually indicates increased activity on the scanner.

Feeds in this police radio app can be browsed by ones near you, the top 50, location, and source (e.g., ScanBC, RailroadRadio, Broadcastify).

The Scanner Radio app runs on Android and iOS devices:

Download For:

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Broadcastify: Stream Police Radio Feeds From Any Device

Broadcastify iPhone police scanner app
What We Like
  • Feeds with active alerts are easy to find.

  • Supports lots of areas.

  • Can browse for feeds around you or in any location in the world.

What We Don't Like
  • Feed archives and no ads are only available through a premium account.

  • Shortcodes used by police are not displayed in the app.

More than 6,500 live audio streams are available at Broadcastify, with feeds not only from police radios but also public safety, aircraft, rail, and marine live audio streams.

Live broadcasts are categorized into sections like Top 50 Live Audio Feeds, Latest 50 Feed Additions, and Official Feeds so that you can easily navigate to what you might be looking for. There's also a Browse by Location page to find local police scanners.

Broadcastify also includes these features:

You can use this free police scanner on both iOS and Android devices. A premium Broadcastify membership is necessary if you want unlimited, continuous listening times, no ads, and other exclusive features.

Download For:

Note

Most, if not all of the police scanner apps in this list are streams from Broadcastify. What makes the apps different is the options and features they let you tinker with.

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Police Scanner: Record Police Feeds From Thousands of Locations

Police Scanner app for iPhone
What We Like
  • Worldwide police feeds.

  • Record snippets from the radio.

  • Start/stop a radio feed based on a timer.

What We Don't Like
  • Lots of ads, including pop-up ads.

  • Doesn't explain what the codes mean that police officers use.

  • Supports iOS devices only.

This police scanner app not only connects you to over 40,000 feeds but also lets you record what you hear and play it back later.

Here are a few notable features:

  • The interface can be customized (e.g., change the background image or hide buttons and labels).
  • Custom police scanner feeds can be added to the app by URL.
  • You can share the feed URL with others where they can listen in a web browser.

Police Scanner is free for iPhone and iPad users only. Police Scanner+ is available for purchase if you want extra features like no ads, bonus content such as weather and airport feeds, local police codes, and more.